Convict’s record stays open, circuit judge rules

A Warren County judge has ruled that state law does not allow the expungement of criminal records for Clarence Jones, who pleaded guilty to murder in 1992 in the stabbing death of his ex-girlfriend.

Clarence Jones received an indefinite suspension of his life sentence in 2004 from Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and was released from prison. Jones had served as trusty at the Governor’s Mansion. He was pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2008.

Murder is not included among the expungeable offenses in state law but Tom Fortner, who represented Jones, argued during a hearing this month before Judge M. James Chaney that Chaney had constitutional authority to grant the request.

In his decision released Monday, Chaney disagreed.